If you’re in a public library, copyright applies to you

Public libraries and document centres open to the public have specific obligations under the Copyright Act.

Public institution?

To be considered “public”, the library or document centre must meet these three criteria:

  • Operate on a non-profit basis
  • Not be created or administered by a profit-making entity
  • Give the public and researchers access to its collection

What the Act says

Under the Copyright Act, a public library is not considered to infringe copyright if a work is reproduced using a self-serve photocopier installed in its premises and:

  • the regulatory notice is displayed
  • an agreement has been reached with a copyright collective such as Copibec

The Act’s provisions on self-serve photocopiers also apply to scanners that may be available to users in the public library or document centre.

The Act also contains other specific provisions for public libraries.

If the format of the original work is obsolete or will soon be, an exception in the Act allows public libraries to reproduce that work in an alternative format. However, the exception applies only if the work is not commercially available in an appropriate format and if the library cannot obtain a licence from a copyright collective such as Copibec.

At a user’s request, public library employees can reproduce an article from a periodical. The copy must be made in paper format (reprographic reproduction). The article must be from a scholarly, scientific or technical periodical. If not, the article must have been published more than a year earlier and must not be fiction, poetry or a dramatic or musical work.

For all types of articles, library employees must inform users that copies can be used only for research or private study.

Public library employees can give a user a digital reproduction of content requested through another library. The user can print out only one copy of the content. The library must take measures so that the user who made the request is prevented from printing more than one copy, transmitting it to another person or using it for more than five business days after the date it is first used.

Our solutions are geared to your needs!

Limited needs

For example…
You work in a public library and want to reproduce one of your books that is in very poor condition but is no longer commercially available.

Get permission to use the articles or book excerpts you want, exactly when you need them. The cost is calculated according to the type of use and is billed immediately.

Ongoing needs

Copibec also offers a reproduction rights licence for public libraries and document centres open to the public if they make self-serve photocopiers and scanners available to their users.

Most municipal libraries in Quebec, plus Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BanQ) and other document centres open to the public have agreements with Copibec. What if your library or document centre isn’t covered?

With a reproduction rights licence, you’re good to go

Our repertoire

The Copibec repertoire (or catalogue) includes content (books, newspapers, legislative texts and other publications) and categories of works published in Quebec, the rest of Canada and in about 30 other countries (United States, United Kingdom, France, etc.) as long as they’re not specifically mentioned in the Exclusions List.

What’s allowed

Users in a public library or document centre open to the public are allowed to make copies using a self-serve photocopier or scanner.

Public library employees are allowed to make copies to manage and maintain their collections or for interlibrary lending. There is no time limit on the use of digital reproductions given to people who request them through interlibrary lending.

Reproduction limits

  • Up to 10% of a document

But also:

  • Entire article
  • Entire report of a legal case
  • Entire lyrics to a song
  • Chapter that is not more than 20% of the pages in a book

If you want to exceed the reproduction limits, you need to get permission.

Do you have any questions? Contact us!